Monday, August 31, 2009

the deal's off

We signed the official "no thank you" papers on the triplex today. The best the sellers came back with was to remediate the wiring rather than replace it. Unfortunately remediation, even when done well, is a half measure that only incrementally improves fire safety. It's too bad because the property is about as close to a complete package as I've seen over the last year. To add insult to injury, afterwards we heard back from an insurance broker that would've been able to lower our payments substantially and help the property cash flow significantly better. Argh!

Oh well. We'll keep our eyes open, our feelers out and stay open to the possibilities.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

latest happenings

Here are some of the latest happenings with us.

We're under contract on a triplex here in the neighborhood. We weren't planning on making any big moves right now. Just been kind of keeping an eye on things coming on the market. When this one popped up it seemed like just what we'd had in mind.

It's 3 units side-by-side, one of them being a 1700 sf 4 bedroom 2 bath that we could actually live in. The other two units in "our" triplex are a 3-1 and a 2-1. Most of the multifamily properties in our 'hood either have small units (2/1 or less) or they're a big house with a tiny basement apartment that wouldn't bring in enough rent to offset the mortgage. This much square footage is rare in our neighborhood!

In order to get this place with little down and at a low interest rate it has to be an owner occupied property. Which means we would be moving. Very very soon: October 1st. The idea was to rent out the two units in the new place as well as the upstairs and downstairs of our current house, giving us a total of 4 rental units all of a sudden here in Denver. Oh my gosh!

But it likely will end up being much ado about nothing. Over the weekend Arwen discovered the whole place is wired with aluminum, which is a deal killer for us, partly because it's a fire hazard and partly because of its stigma. Even if there is nothing actually wrong with the wiring it would negatively affect resale. Plus we could never sleep at night worrying that we'd burn ourselves or our tenants up. So unless the sellers are willing to rewire the whole place it's a no go. Bummer!

Oh well. Things usually seem to work out for the best. The most remarkable thing about this whole triplex thing was that when it came up and we started debating this crazy idea Arwen and I talked through it all with complete composure. We each could see different pros and cons, we each had different concerns and fears, and we just talked through it logically, dispassionately, never taking any of it personally. To me that is a huge accomplishment. To be willing to take on such an ambitious project and never lose sight of the most important thing: being on the same team.

Meanwwhile we have a toddler who constantly keeps us laughing and tearing our hair out too. I had to post this video I took of her today. It totally sums up where she's at right now. For the last two days she's been saying she wants to go to the hardware store with Daddy, "without Mommy." Just her and Daddy she kept insisting, sort of a daddy-date I guess.

So today was the day, and to get ready for the exciting event she decided to put on a special outfit. Over her big girl panties she put on a "just in case" pull up, followed by a two-piece ruffled swimsuit. And over that she put her yellow swimming innertube. Other than that she wore nothing but her brown polka dot mary janes. Arwen had a heckuva time getting the inner tube off her long enough to strap her into the car seat!

If every adult woman could channel enough confidence to walk into a Home Depot in nothing but a swimsuit think of all that could be accomplished in this world!

She has been doing awesome with potty training. The trip to Miami was a big turning point. They say never to try making big changes like that when you're traveling, but she practically insisted on it. She had lost interest in the potty, but being in a new place there were so many new and different potties to try out! That and K and Gramps were stocked up with all kinds of excellent bribes!

***Disclaimer: Poop talk to follow***

She's now staying in panties all day, even through naps. She only wears a diaper at nights. We still deal with accidents, but she does pretty well overall. The one thing we've been working the most on is #2. She just did not want to give up the diaper for it. So we have instituted a policy of Poo Poo Prizes. I have a bowl full of miscellaneous items from the dollar bin at Target. When she poops on the potty she gets to pick one. It's worked great. She feels rewarded, and also there's always something else exciting in the bowl she can't wait to get her hands on next. We've had almost too much success with it. Our one-poop-a-day kid is suddenly managing to deliver the goods once an hour! Honestly I don't know where it's all coming from, but she's just about run us out of Poopy Prizes.

***Here Endeth the Poop Talk***

Let's see, what else have we been up to... Well Arwen's 36th birthday was this past friday. We went out to dinner with some friends to our favorite Mexican dive, then hung out till 3 am not acting our age. And that's all I'm going to say about that! I think he had a good birthday. Thanks to everyone who celebrated with us, and to those who sent him good wishes.

We have been squeezing the last bit of summer out, I tell you what. Our garden is going gangbusters. We've had as much broccoli and tomatoes as we want. Roan picks all the yellow cherry tomatoes as soon as they're ripe and gobbles them right up. Her cheeks are stuffed with them here-

We took Roan to Lakeside Amusement Park here in the neighborhood. They have a "kiddieland" with a bunch of cute rides that basically go around in a circle. She rode the motorcycles, race cars, canoes, horse & wagons, and airplanes. She said she enjoyed it, and it's true she didn't cry. But when she was actually on the rides she would just sit there blank faced and serious, not crying but not smiling either. And then as soon as the ride was over, her face would light up and she'd say, "Again! Again!"

And then we took the train around the lake at sunset. Can you believe this is just walking distance from our house? Man I love this neighborhood.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

bienvenido a miami!

At the end of July we snuck away for a quick trip to visit Gramps and K in Miami. It was a belated surprise for Dad's 55th birthday. We hadn't been to Miami in 5 years, so it was time! Dad thought he was picking up up Jen & Micah at the airport. Surprise!

We had such a great time, and did so many fun things. We spent time in the pool...

Went to the beach...

Played around in the backyard...

Had fun at parrot island...

Fed the baby goats...

And just goofed around

We also took the boat out twice, made a trip to the Children's Museum, and had lots of fun around the house. Karen had conspired with Great Grandma Shirley and Aunt Aileen to have everything on hand we could possibly need to make the trip go smoothly. Thanks you guys!

Here's a slideshow of photos from our trip.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

hi there, remember me?

Sorry folks. Time has gotten away from me. I'm still working on a post about our trip to Miami, Roan's new status as a (mostly) potty trained preschooler, my latest knitting conquests, and an exciting possible real estate opportunity we're exploring. I've just been a little unmotivated in the writing department lately. Much as I hate to admit it, summer is winding down and fall will soon be upon us. I'm just not ready for that. We had such a mild summer I felt like I never really got a good sweat in. (Except when we were in Miami!) I'd much rather it be that way than the reverse, but still. I wish tank tops and margaritas on patios could go on for another 2 or 3 months. We have a camping trip coming up soon, so there's an opportunity to squeeze just a little more summer out of the season.